‘Better Call Saul’: Why Did Chuck Kill Himself in Season 3?

by Emily Morgan

Viewers were left stunned after Jimmy “Saul” McGill’s older brother Chuck made the sad decision to kill himself at the end of Season 3 of the Netflix series, “Better Call Saul.” Now, we’re diving into why he decided to end his life. 

As the show played out, Chuck, played by veteran actor Michael McKean, died of his own volition in a house fire. However, the show had slowly set up his tragic fate in prior episodes. 

As fans will recall, Jimmy previously loved his brother, although Chuck acted like a villain in Saul’s life. He didn’t believe that his brother, who was formerly involved in a criminal enterprise (“Breaking Bad,”) deserved to practice law. 

Later, their relationship devolved into a nasty feud, but it still was a shock when Chuck decided to off himself. So, it begs us to ask, why did Chuck McGill kill himself in the show’s third season? 

To understand why Chuck McGill decided to take his own life in the season’s finale, it’s imperative to know that Chuck was often led by his pride. 

For instance, he took pride in his legal abilities, knowledge, and intellect. In addition, he also showed viewers that he was not used to losing. Chuck clarified that fact when Jimmy publicly beat and embarrassed Chuck in court. As a result, Chuck was nothing short of devastated. 

Later, that loss was compounded when Jimmy devised a plan to force him out of the firm he co-created. Although you might feel bad for Chuck, it’s important to remember that Chuck had betrayed Jimmy and attempted to destroy his law career earlier in the series. 

How Chuck McGill’s death led to Jimmy’s transformation as Saul

All of these incidents would later go on to add to Chuck’s tumultuous character development. He became a hermit, spending long periods at home alone.

Later, Chuck realized that this newfound social anxiety was likely psychological. As a result, he couldn’t deal with the fact that his illness was all in his mind. 

By this point in the series, Chuck is down bad. Sadly, he underwent a final episode that would push him over the edge. As a result, he decides to end his own life by way of a house fire. Although he’s officially gone, there’s no doubt that his presence is still felt on the show. As it plays out, Chuck’s death continues to alter Jimmy’s character development during the show’s next seasons.

Inevitably, Chuck’s death casts a dark shadow over the rest of the seasons. In addition, his death ushers in Jimmy’s complete transformation into Saul Goodman. 

Jimmy later starts criminal activities full steam ahead after Chuck’s death, with the guilt from his brother’s passing acting as the catalyst for Jimmy’s transition back to Saul. 

For instance, when Chuck’s old firm offers Jimmy a job but rescinds the offer, the reasons for Chuck’s death resurface. This causes Jimmy to step into his Saul persona, beginning a series-long battle against the firm.